Fashion + Design > Fashion

July 13, 2022

My sister Ulli talks fashion and shops my closet

Susanne Barta

Meine Schwester ist nach langer Pandemie bedingter Abwesenheit wieder einmal länger in Europa. Ihr habt vielleicht diesen Blog Post gelesen? Wo sie mich in einem Leinenkleid dreimal unterschiedlich stylt? Für die aktuelle Geschichte hat Ulli in meinen Kleiderschrank geschaut und drei Outfits zusammengestellt. Easy-Breezy Looks, immer mit einem für sie so typischen Augenzwinkern. Aber damit nicht genug. Da Ulli Mode eigenwillig und vor allem sehr unabhängig lebt, haben wir uns auch darüber unterhalten. Und da sie seit über 25 Jahren in den USA lebt, ist das etwas weiter unten folgende Interview auch auf Englisch.

Aber zunächst zu den Looks aus meinem Kleiderschrank, ergänzt mit Ullis Essentials. Ulli Barta 2+3 (c) Urban von KlebelsbergLook 1 – C as in Campari & Chanel

Jeans > Leandra Medine Cohen x Mango – ein Geschenk von Ulli an mich, die Jeans ist mir aber ein wenig zu eng, daher schenke ich sie wieder zurück
Bastschildkappe > Wyeth > Ulli
Top > Muji > Ulli
Tasche > Chanel – Secondhand Kleopatra 
Heels > Jimmy Cho

Ulli Barta 4+5 (c) Urban von KlebelsbergLook 2 – A different Südtiroler Lederhose

Motorrad-Lederhosen > gefunden bei Klamotte 
Top > Muji > Ulli
Hemd > Secondhand
Bastschildkappe > Wyeth > Ulli
Sakko und Ballerinas > Arket

Ulli Barta 6+7 (c) Urban von KlebelsbergLook 3 – Blue Apron for Life

Schürze > qollezione 
Top > Muji > Ulli
Bastschildkappe > Wyeth > Ulli
Sneakers > Nike 

You like?

Und nun zum Interview über Mode, Stil und Nachhaltigkeit. Und warum für Ulli neue Designer-Klamotten noch lange kein interessantes Outfit ergeben. 

Ulli, what role does fashion play for you?

Fun, joy and a way to communicate in color and form.

How do you describe your style?

Anything goes if I like it, if it makes me smile and is comfortable. I have this rule that any outfit I leave the house with has to make me smile in one way or another – whether it’s a crazy color combo, or a memory of someone who gave it to me, etc. Ulli Barta 8+9 (c) dave ortiz + ulli bartaVintage and second hand were part of your wardrobe early on. Was this a matter of style or did you already then take into account the unsustainable practices of the fashion industry?

Classic vintage has always been an aesthetic I loved. I sewed endless patches on my jeans in high-school, remember? The sustainability effort only added to this. The beauty of worn classics, the preciousness of time leaving its mark signifies luxury for me. Isn’t time one of the most precious goods we have with and for each other? For me TIME is my favorite designer of all.
Shelling out tons of money to pay for new beautiful clothes is not luxury to me. It just shows you have a lot of money and choose to spend it on yourself. Nothing wrong with that to a point. We all deserve to treat ourselves. But I am not impressed or interested in people’s styles wearing a ton of new designer clothes every season, I find it boring, and numb to today’s demands in our society and quite irresponsible actually. I also know I am very judgmental – LOL.

Do you follow trends?

No. I don’t think much about trends ever. I think trends are like Santa Claus. An invention of marketers to sell more products to consumers…
Trend industry aside, what I do love is to observe what kids (teenagers) are wearing and what they are into. These days I especially enjoy to watch the evolution of clothes worn by kids who transgress our unnatural societal norms of gender. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how these stupid rules are broken of what a man or a woman can wear. I have always worn and bought both men’s and women’s clothes.Ulli Barta 10+11 (c) dave ortiz + ulli bartaWhat influence does your partner Dave Ortiz, who also designs for international lifestyle brands on and off, have on your approach to fashion?

I guess when you live with and love someone you influence each other – also in one’s clothing style. We at this point often wear the same things on the same day – unintentionally. It’s really funny. It occurs quite often totally unplanned with having picked sometimes literally the same outfit. And sometimes we don’t even realize it before we walk out the door, or not at all – LOL.
Bottom line we both love colors, patterns and have zero insecurity if our look is unconventional, loud or weird looking. I am quite lucky that we vibe so well in this regard, I would hate having to discuss with my love to dress down or less colorful… 

Do you use each other’s closet?

YES, of course! Dave always steals “my” pink socks, we share our hats, I wear his shirts and sweaters, certain things are not really shareable due to sizing but other than that anything goes.Ulli Barta 12+13 (c) ulli barta + dave ortizWhat inspires you?

Things that influence me when I pick or style clothes are either things that are on my mind, e.g. this week the natural stone camouflage colors I saw hiking in the Südtiroler Alpen, the color of my gardens flowers, a piece of art and it’s colors that stuck with me, a cool yellow motor cycle and its gorgeous shape…

Sustainable strategies are THE topic in current discussions where the future of the fashion industry is at stake. Are you interested in this?

Of course. Sustainable strategies are a must and our only real option to pass this world on to our children in a somewhat livable way. Our generation has done a tremendous amount of harm by making excuses and avoiding full responsibility. Sustainability, renewable energy sources away from fossil fuels, circular economy, access to education, fair distribution of wealth, transparent supply chain management etc.Ulli Barta 14 (c) dave ortizYou’ve been working with Christelle Kocher to build her label KOCHÉ since 2013. What does Christelle stand for?

I might be biased ; ) but I think she is single handedly one of the three most talented if not THE most talented contemporary fashion designer of our time. If you follow her collections, you can always see her new ideas pop up with everyone else two seasons later. Her knowledge of and expertise in fashion whether pret-a-porter or haute couture, skillset in craft, patterns, materials, flou, her limitless creativity and humor in how she deconstructs and designs paired with her dedication and relentless commitment is mind boggling to me. She works so very hard. She is refusing to sell out to investors and fights a very hard uphill battle in an industry where you either have to come from a very wealthy family or sell your soul to a corporate conglomerate to survive. KOCHÉ is independent. Most designers get overwhelmed with working on one line, Christelle at times designs more than 4 or 5 a year (which adds up to up to 10+ collections / year!!!) as she has to moonlight on many other projects to be able to finance her own brand. She is also the creative director of the Chanel owned Maison d’Art Lemarié, which is another full-time job for any other regular person.
KOCHÉ’S sustainable project is called RE/KOCHÉ (I gave it this name : )).
Sport jerseys get recycled and made into dresses, shirts and clothes.
High-end collaborations with Nike and the Parisian soccer Club PSG and this year with Puma and AC Milan were big successes and we are working on finding new ways to reuse these synthetic materials in workshops with schools and colleges. Ulli Barta 15 (c) dave ortizFashion quo vadis?

I hope for amazing new 100% circular materials, transparent and fair supply chain management, and exploding the boundaries of race, gender and technology. Not the most realistic dream, but today I allow myself to dream wild. Ulli Barta 16+17 (c) Urban von Klebelsberg

Fotos: (1–7) © Urban von Klebelsberg; (8) Ulli wearing Dave’s sweater, t-shirt and hat; (10, 11) same shirt © Dave Ortiz; (9, 12) © Ulli Barta; (13) © Dave Ortiz; (14, 15) Ulli wearing Koché © Dave Ortiz; (16, 17) Ulli und Susanne vor und nach der Pandemie © Urban von Klebelsberg


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